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Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity

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  • Daniel Hamermesh
  • Amy M. Parker

Abstract

Adjusted for many other determinants, beauty affects earnings; but does it lead directly to the differences in productivity that we believe generate earnings differences? We take a large sample of student instructional ratings for a group of university professors, acquire six independent measures of their beauty and a number of other descriptors of them and their classes. Instructors who are viewed as better looking receive higher instructional ratings, with the impact of a move from the 10th to the 90th percentile of beauty being substantial. This impact exists within university departments and even within particular courses, and is larger for male than for female instructors. Disentangling whether this outcome represents productivity or discrimination is, as with the issue generally, probably impossible.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Hamermesh & Amy M. Parker, 2003. "Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity," NBER Working Papers 9853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9853
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
    2. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
    3. Belton Fleisher & Masanori Hashimoto & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2002. "Foreign GTAs Can Be Effective Teachers of Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 299-325, December.
    4. William E. Becker & William Bosshardt & Michael Watts, 2012. "How Departments of Economics Evaluate Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 325-333, July.
    5. David E. Kaun, 1984. "Faculty Advancement in a Nontraditional University Environment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(4), pages 592-606, July.
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    7. Siegfried, John J & White, Kenneth J, 1973. "Financial Rewards to Research and Teaching: A Case Study of Academic Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 309-315, May.
    8. Biddle, Jeff E & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1998. "Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 172-201, January.
    9. Moore, William J & Newman, Robert J & Turnbull, Geoffrey K, 1998. "Do Academic Salaries Decline with Seniority?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 352-366, April.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Being a Scientist
      by Jonathan Finegold in Economic Thought on 2013-03-12 02:57:26

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    Cited by:

    1. Wenshu Gao & Russell Smyth, 2010. "Health Human Capital, Height and Wages in China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 466-484.
    2. Dinda, Soumyananda & Gangopadhyay, P.K. & Chattopadhyay, B.P. & Saiyed, H.N. & Pal, M. & Bharati, P., 2006. "Height, weight and earnings among coalminers in India," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 342-350, December.
    3. John J. Donohue III, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law," NBER Working Papers 11631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Heather E. Campbell & Karen Gerdes & Sue Steiner, 2005. "What's looks got to do with it? Instructor appearance and student evaluations of teaching," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 611-620.
    5. Guido Heineck, 2005. "Up in the Skies? The Relationship between Body Height and Earnings in Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(3), pages 469-489, September.
    6. Gaviria Alejandro & Alejandro Hoyos, 2008. "Determinantes de los resultados de las evaluaciones de profesores: el caso de la Universidad de los Andes," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, March.
    7. Linda Loury, 2006. "Schooling, Skin Tone, and Attractiveness: Beauty Makes Skin Seem Deep," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0620, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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